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An Auto Industry Insider’s View…From A Woman’s Perspective

Archive for April, 2013

Driving Under the Influence….of a Cell Phone

Posted by carsdiva on April 29, 2013

Did you know that of the 3.5 million people in the U.S. that suffer serious injuries in motor vehicle accidents, 24% involve cell phone usage?

7 out of 10 Americans talk on the phone will driving.  According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 69% of Americans had used their cell phone while driving in the last 30 days before they were surveyed. Furthermore 31% sent or read text messages or emails while driving.

The ongoing debate of driver distraction

More and more auto manufacturers are offering hands-free/bluetooth in-car communication systems–  most people have heard of Ford’s SYNC system, and the others have followed suit:  Mercedes’ mbrace, Toyota’s enTune, Chevy’s MyLink, and so forth.  Definitely something to keep in mind when buying a new car.  If you’re not in the market for a new vehicle, well there are bluetooth ear pieces, you can pull over if you absolutely need to answer a call or text, or hec, just wait until you arrive at your destination.  Just as “don’t drink and drive” has become a commonplace advisory phrase, so now has “don’t drive and text” (or talk on your cell phone).

cellphone-carMultiple research studies indicate that texting while driving causes greater impairment than driving while under the influence of alcohol. Of course there are plenty of variables– level of intoxication vs. duration of time looking at the phone, etc…  But the point is it’s dangerous– more so than most people realize.  Would you bring your cocktail in the car while driving?  No. (Well….let’s hope not.) It puts things into perspective, doesn’t it?  Just ask yourself– Is it really worth the risk to others on the road, much less yourself, to answer that call or text right this second?

Guilty as Charged

I know on a personal note, I’ve been passing more and more billboards and signs that clearly state the ticket price if caught while either texting or using a hand-held cell phone.  Here are some interesting statistics from the Governors Highways Safety Association about the various state laws when it comes to cell phone usage:

Hand-held Cell Phone Use:  10 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, D.C., and the US Virgin Islands prohibit all drivers from using hand-held devices while driving.  i.e. you can be pulled over simply for this reason and get a ticket without any other traffic violation (except for Maryland & West Virginia until July 2013)

Novice Drivers:  36 States & DC ban cell phone use by novice drivers, and 19 states & DC ban cell phone use by bus drivers

Texting:  39 states, DC, Guam & US Virgin Islands ban texting while driving (45 states for novice drivers)

We’ve all heard of MADD— (mothers against drunk driving,) created in 1980 to stop drunk driving and prevent underage drinking.  Well, as the times have changed, and after looking at all the research and statistics that indicate that texting could be a more serious danger than drinking, perhaps they should revise it to MAID….Mothers Against Impaired Driving.  (To advocate against all impairments, of course.)

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Ford Gets “Tied Up” With Their “Leave Your Worries Behind” Ads

Posted by carsdiva on April 1, 2013

Ford Ad with tied up Kardashians  No pun intended.  Ford faces outrage as a result of the mock-up ads for the Indian-made Ford Figo. One of the ads depicts a cartoon of the Kardashian sisters, Kim, Kourtney, and Khloe, tied up, gagged, and being kidnapped by Paris Hilton, who’s in the front seat of the vehicle, winking.  In another ad, Italy’s former Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, is shown in the vehicle with 3 women tied up and gagged in the trunk, accompanied by the slogan “leave your worries behind with the Figo’s extra-large boot.”  (Note: Berlusconi has a reputation of throwing wild parties and is facing charges for paying for sex with a minor.)  That being said, they may be clever, but politically correct?  No way.  More importantly, they are distasteful, derogatory, and insulting to women in general.  And I should add that the not-always-PC Kardashians don’t seem to find the humor in the controversial ad either.  In fact, according to their attorney, (or one of them), they’re looking into “legal options” against those responsible.

The ads were not used commercially but did surface on the internet, which caused quite the uproar.  Since then, the India unit of Ford has apologized and they’re investigating to see whether anyone at Ford actually saw the print ads prior to the whole ordeal.  According to Sethi Berlusconi Ford AdDeepti, Ford spokewoman, Ford is taking this seriously, and “reviewing approval and oversight processes, and taking necessary steps to ensure nothing like this ever happens again.”  Another spokesperson for Ford, Chris Preuss, said these were intended as concepts as part of a creative exercise by JWT’s India unit, and clarified that they were not commissioned by Ford.

Ironically enough, India recently passed a new legislation to protect women against sexual violence, and these ads surfaced right after, furthermore adding that much more fuel to the fire.  The word is that those responsible for the ads were fired… but the damage was done.  In a world where anything on the internet can go viral and quickly affect the image of a brand, this was definitely a step in the wrong direction.

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